Haunting at the No Return Motel marks my first anthology outside of Black Velvet Seductions Publishing—which, ironically, is releasing Vortex of Desire today, in which I also appear! https://virginiawallace.com/2023/07/11/welcome-to-vortex-of-desire/
So yep, new publisher, new set of teammates, new approach to publishing …
What a RUSH!!! I am so grateful to AMR Promotions for having given me this opportunity, and so proud of my fellow authors. Everyone pulled out all the stops, which—naturally—is the only way to do things. Do or die, you know?
So, without any further ado …
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you HAUNTING AT THE NO RETURN MOTEL!!!
“The Larchmont Motel” by Pete Thron
Just … wow. No wonder the title of the anthology comes from this story. World-renowned, bestselling author Pete Thron brings us his A-game with this mesmerizing tale! I find it particularly unnerving that that the story is told—page by brutal page—from an old diary. The linking of the present to the past reminds us, for better or worse, that horror has ever been a part of the human existence.
I find it interesting that this is also a tale of crippling drug addiction, a topic that the author—a former NYPD officer—knows all too well. The story reads like exactly what it is: a tale written by a man who is intimately familiar with his subject matter. Well done, Pete!
“The Monolith” by Virginia Wallace (review by Suzanne Smith, author The Brute and I and The Scalp Collector https://virginiawallace.com/2021/03/03/a-chat-with-suzanne-smith/ )
I loved every minute of this dark and creepy story!
The detailed description of the monolith and the interior and exterior of the decaying house with the prophetic words written on the walls was super vivid, and gets a thumbs up from me. Love the way Virginia acquainted the reader with the characters of Moe, Shoe, and Rotchy by giving them nicknames to mimic their personalities.
These boys are so real. Clumsy, foul-mouthed, somewhat rambunctious, yet still so lovable. The back and forth timeline changes in the book were easy to follow and not confusing to the reader at all.
The ending was unpredictable and superb. This was the perfect Halloween read!
“The Lady in the Black Lace Dress” by Brian McCord
This … is an INSANELY well-told tale!
We all know about the Mexican ‘Day of the Dead.’ Mexico has a long and rich history of horror tales of its own, as well as appearances of Mexican culture in American horror stories. The setting is just exotic enough to be intriguing, and just familiar enough to be comforting.
The element of the ‘missing shoe’ feels VERY ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales,’ which lends a certain sense of timelessness to the narrative.
“A Halloween Weekend” by Eileen Troemel
This is the first horror story I’ve read by Eileen, and I’m more than a little familiar with her work.
There’s a certain classic, 1970’s feel to this story. I’m reminded of such films as ‘The Amityville Horror.’ Not nearly so hardcore as ‘The Exorcist’ or ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’ but still quite unnerving it its own right.
I think what makes this story brilliant is that Eileen didn’t alter her writing style one iota to suit the new-to-her genre. It reads like her classic science fiction, romance, and suspense. And therein lies its brilliance, as if Daphne du Maurier suddenly busted out with Psycho while using the same narrative style that made Rebecca a massive hit.
“A Halloween Weekend” reads like Eileen has been writing horror her entire life, despite my knowledge to the contrary. And that … is the very definition of talent!
“The Justified Hotel” by Allie Harrison
Randall ‘Butch’ Sawyer gripped the steering wheel with both
hands and sighed heavily. “I’m freakin’ exhausted.”
Butch was a pathological psycho with two capital P’s who felt
nothing when it came to killing a fellow human being. He had killed
to get what he wanted. He had killed to cover his tracks. He had
killed for the simple idea someone had looked at him too long and
studied his face. Yet, while he could skin a person alive or shoot
someone in the head and walk away without remorse, and had done
it on numerous occasions, he could not utter a single swear or cuss
word for fear of winding up in hell for it. So, he said things like,
“Freaking, fracking, oh fudge.” And when the situation really called
for something big and bad, he said, “Chocolate fudge.” Three days
ago, while at a gas station, the young, female gas station attendant
had stared at him. And when Butch was certain she had pressed a
hidden alarm even though he hadn’t seen her move, he’d said,
“Chocolate fudge with peanuts!” just before he shot off half her face …
Damn. Just … damn … WHAT an epic character!
And this story has the PERFECT spine-tingling ending, just like you expect from the best horror stories!
I hope they make this one into a movie someday.
“Bark at the Moon” by T. Elizabth Guthrie
This was a very thought-provoking tale. It reminded me of the movie Frailty, starring Bill Paxton and Matthew McConaughey. It’s a tale of twisted morality, in which people take noble beliefs to dark extremes.
The small-town setting made the tale even more creepy. People usualy feel safe in small towns, less wary than they do in big cities. It turns reality upside-down, setting a terrifying tale in such a quaint place.
The Stephen King-like vibe made this story a worthy ending to the beginning spun by Pete Thron. I’ve always said that a great anthology has perfect, complimetary ‘bookends.’
And this one DOES!
Thus concludes my review of the epic Haunting at the No Return Motel! Go pick up a copy TODAY!!! https://books2read.com/u/3k6LrN